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Historical Facts on MP3 Players

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    Kane Kramer

    • The first patent for a digital audio player was filed in 1981 by Kane Kramer, a British businessman who envisioned a personal music player that required no additional equipment apart from the player hardware. While the player itself would only be the size of a credit card, the limited technology of the late 1980s would have only allowed storage for roughly four minutes of audio. Kramer was issued a US patent for the device in 1987.

    First Commercial mp3 Player: "Listen Up"

    • In 1996, a company by the name of Audio System unveiled the first audio mp3 player, called the Listen Up. The product was widely praised by technology writers at the 1997 Consumer Electronic Show and the 1998 Internet Showcase conference, where it won the People's Choice Award for that year.

    Creative's "NOMAD Jukebox" and Microdrivers

    • In 2000, Creative Technology, known primarily for their line of "SoundBlaster" audio cards for PCs, released the NOMAD Jukebox mp3 player. The device had a 6GB storage capacity and was the first of its kind to support "microdriver" support. A user could install basic drivers for their device to their computer simply by connecting the mp3 player to the PC. This eliminated the need to download drivers from a company's website and eliminated the need to include disks with mp3 players.

    Apple iPod

    • The Apple iPod was released in 2001 and initially included a 1.8-inch Toshiba hard drive. The device was popular among Macintosh owners, but the iPod line did not find mainstream popularity until its second generation of devices were released. These devices included larger hard drives, slightly larger screens and included support for Windows operating systems, opening the door for almost all owners to use the device.

    Integration with Cell Phones

    • Many mp3 players are tied to cell phones. The Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid and most other smart phones as well as many standard cell phones support mp3 music playback. What makes this feature popular among cell phone owners is that rather than having a set amount of space, cell phone owners can swap out their MicroSD cards for larger ones, thus giving them more space without buying a new player.

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